Gruff Rhys

Yr Atal Genhedlaeth

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Super Furry Animals' frontman Gruff Rhys has been writing for and performing with the well-known Welsh quintet since the band's 1996 debut, FUZZY LOGIC. Like the brain-spinning eclecticism of the Super Furries--which can veer from punk-pop to electronica experiments to sparkling psychedelia to Latin-tinged lounge in an eye-blink--Rhys's first solo outing, YR ATAL GENHEDLAETH, is a stylistically mixed bag. As on SFA's MWNG, Rhys adds another skewed angle to his psychedelic pop-rock by singing all of the lyrics in Welsh. (The album's title is a pun on the Welsh word for contraception, and translates loosely to "the Stopped Generation" or "the Stuttering Generation.")

"Gwn Mi Wn" layers a chorus of chant-like vocal melodies over a simple drumbeat, creating a unique, trance-like effect. Rhys also croons his way through an electronica-rock ballad ("Rhagluniaeth Ysgafn"), strums acoustic guitar on sing-along Britpop ("Ni Yw Y Byd"), and rap-sings through angular, but surprisingly tuneful, blip-hop ("Caerffosiaeth"). Much of the album ("Epynt," "Y Gwybodusion"), however, is stripped-down, guitar-driven rock with a lean, home-recording feel that contrasts with the Super Furries' high-end production. For its similarities to his main outfit, and for its distinctive differences, Rhys's YR ATAL GENHEDLAETH is an appealing listen.

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